March 9, 2018 - At BDP International’s 29th Annual Regulatory Compliance Seminar in Houston in late February, audience members who represented U.S. importers and exporters were polled for their perspectives on trade in today’s world, and the results were illuminating.
BDP hosted customers from the retail, food production, chemical and oil/gas industries; the bulk of attendees were from chemical and oil/gas companies.
“In this time of uncertainty, we wondered how our customers felt about the shift in FTA focus. Was this something that would really impact their businesses? Or simply another annoyance in the day-to-day?” said Melissa Pinheiro, BDP Corporate Compliance Manager. “Our Houston event confirms that FTAs remain in the forefront of the trading community’s concerns.”
Some of the findings from the Houston event include:
73 percent of respondents felt the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was antiquated and should be updated; however, 10 percent felt NAFTA did not need to be changed at all.
67 percent felt withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was the wrong thing to do and that the United States will be left behind. Of the remaining respondents, 13 percent thought withdrawal was positive, while 20 percent were unsure.
The audience did not have strong feelings about the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA), with 36 percent wanting it left as is and 36 percent undecided. Additionally, 21 percent wanted KORUS FTA to be updated and 7 percent said it should be canceled altogether.
Seminar attendees were also asked which FTA would be the most beneficial for their organization: India, UK, Vietnam, Japan or Philippines. All five FTAs are equally important, according to 49 percent of respondents.
However, opinions were more divided over FTA benefits, with 56 percent believing they kept U.S. manufacturing costs down; 26 percent did not share that opinion and 18 percent were undecided.
In dealing with current U.S. trade positions, 43 percent said they were maintaining the status quo and 30 percent were actively seeking to give input to the U.S. government. Another 27 percent were actively investigating sourcing choices in their supply chain to avoid certain countries they felt might be problematic going forward.
“With the growing pace of global trade, FTAs will continue to boost old and new emerging economies,” Pinheiro said.
To continue discussing the topic, BDP will host the upcoming Philadelphia Regulatory Compliance Seminar on May 2 at the Museum of the American Revolution.
Source: American Journal of Transportation